The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Water was a new addition to the ginseng range some time last year. I was so intrigued when I first saw it, that I had to get myself a bottle right away!
First though, calling this a ‘water’ is a bit confusing. Most of us know what water looks and feels like – clear and liquid. But this isn’t.
The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Water is thick, viscous and slightly opaque. It does not bring to mind the idea of ‘water’ whatsoever! I’d call this a lotion or essence, if I had to find a word for it.
But what it really is, is a toner. A RM300/US$80 bottle of hydrating toner. It better jolly well be worth it!
What is the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Water?
What it is, is a toner targeted at those using anti-aging products. It contains Steamed Ginseng Water Concentrate, which is obtained by condensing the moisture and nutrients of ginseng.
It has a lightweight gel-lotion texture that is quite thick and viscous. For this reason, I find the packaging to be impractical. It is thicker in texture than even the Bobbi Brown Extra Treatment Lotion or the La Mer Treatment Lotion.
The product comes in a lovely, heavy, glass bottle which feels very lush in the hands. However, it is dispensed through a hole, and due to the thicker consistency, it does not also flow through nicely.
Often, when I try shaking it out, like a ketchup bottle, it either delivers too much or too little. For this reason, I feel that it would have been better served in a pump-type packaging for practical purposes.
You may notice the slightly opaque gel-lotion texture in the spoon. It is scented with a noticeable ginseng scent, but also with a significant hint of floral. While I can tolerate the herbal root smell of ginseng root, I look less favourably on floral scents. For this reason, the scent does not appeal to me as much as that of the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX.
How to use the Sulwhasoo Concentrate Ginseng Renewing Water
Use it after cleansing, as you will your regular hydrating toner. For me, this fits into my hydrating toner/lotion step.
I still use the moisture sandwich method so I apply it after a light mist, and I also mist again after that. For me, I find that it helps it absorb better, and feel more comfortable on my skin.
I have noted that some people find this a little sticky. If you do find it a little sticky, a light mist of a toner or your favourite skincare mist will solve that problem nicely.
Suggested Use: Cleanser -> Sulwhasoo Concentrate Ginseng Renewing Water -> Serum -> Moisturiser
What does it do? Is it worth the money?
A good question.
What it’s supposed to do is to help dry, flaky skin feel more moisturised and firmer. Think of it as a first layer of moisture.
What it does for me however, is make my skin feel lovely and moisturised and hydrated. It is quite lightweight on skin, but weighty enough that it sinks into my skin, and delivers the hydration and moisture my skin needs immediately after cleansing.
I’ve been using this for months now, without being able to quite put my finger on what I think about it. But I think I have come to a decision.
You can live without this, and so can I.
If you have dry skin, you will likely enjoy this. This isn’t quite for anyone with oily or combination skins as you may find it too heavy on your skin. When that happens, the odds are you will say “Oh, this is so light and moisturising, I don’t need serum or moisturiser after that”.
I prefer treating products for the use that they are intended. So, if it is meant to be a lotion, treat it as a lotion. If you find it too heavy, find something lighter.
A lotion is rarely a good substitute for a serum, and I’d much rather you spend your money on a good serum than on this lotion.
But if you have dry skin (as I do), and you already practice the moisture sandwich technique (as I do), I find this a little superfluous. My skin is just as happy with the much more affordable Hada Labo Premium Hydrating Lotion (that I still use). It is just as hydrated, and my skin feels just as good.
I then follow up with a good serum and moisturiser, and my skin feels and looks good. Do I need a RM300/US$80 hydrating lotion that serves a similar function? I’d say not. Not even if it contains ginseng water. I’ll save my money for the ginseng serum instead.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Water is a viscous lotion/essence type hydrating toner. It feels comfortable on my skin and sinks in nicely, leaving skin feeling moist and plumped and hydrated. However, I derive a similar benefit from using facial mists and a more affordable hydrating lotion, so I can save my money for more effective serums instead. I think this is a nice product to have or to try, if your budget permits. But I’d otherwise save my money for something else.
Quickly boosts moisture and hydration in skin
Skin feels plumped and comfortable
Can last quite a while due to the thicker texture
Fragrance smells quite floral
May feel sticky on skin for some
Poor packaging as the viscous liquid is harder to dispense from a hole as opposed to a pump packaging
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone with dry skin and looking for a hydrating lotion and have the budget for this
PRICE: RM300 | US$82 for 125ml
WHERE TO BUY: Sulwhasoo counters, boutiques and online, Zalora, Bloomingdales, YesStyle, Neiman Marcus
For those of you interested, this is the ingredient list for the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Water:
Ingredients: Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, glycereth-26, alcohol, betaine, panax ginnseng root water, glyceryl polymethacrylate, Bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, propanediol, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, behenyl alcohol, polyglyceryl-10 pentastearate, glyceryl caprylate, fragrance, cetearyl alcohol, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, tromethamine, methoxy PEG-114/polyepsilon caprolactone, disodium EDTA, xanthan gum, ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-hexanediol, adenosine, sodium stearoyl lactylate, honey, cetearyl glucoside, beta-glucan, lilium candidum bulb extract, rehmannia glutinosa root extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, nelumbo nucifera flower extract, polygonatum officinale rhizome/root extract, sorbitan isostearate, polysorbate 60, hydrolyzed ginseng saponins, hydrogenated lecithin, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, dextrin, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, potassium hydroxide, acetic acid, BHT, tocopherol
Have you tried this Ginseng Renewing Water by any chance? Do you use a hydrating lotion/toner?
I always use a hydrating lotion/toner. I swear it really does help gives my skin that boost so the serums and moisturisers work better for me. I also swear by my moisture sandwich method – try it if you haven’t! 🙂
8 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Jan Kelley says
Thank you for your review. I was tempted to purchase this. I’m so glad I read your review. As a brand, I love Sulwhasoo. Recently I have fallen in love with their tinted lip balms. Again, thank you.
Paris B says
Ooh do you know that as much as I love their cushion foundations, I haven’t tried other makeup from Sulwhasoo?! I should try their serum lipsticks. I hear they’re quite something!
Unfortunately, Sulwhasoo is not what it is used to be.
They have reformulated (more than one time) many of their products in the recent years,
and it seems they have taken many ingredients out and watered them down.
I guess they did in order to improve their financial outcomes.
I remember using their flagship “extra refining” line almost 10 years ago (which today is called “timetreasure invigorating” after it was reformulated 2 or 3 times since then). It was so concentrated, felt almost medicinal haha… with so much more unique and “active” ingredients than today’s formulas. It was also much more hydrating and nourishing.
Fortunately today there are much more brands and products who offer a variety of ingredients and products and some can be bought at much more economical prices than Sulwhasoo.
The only product I currently like from Sulwhasoo is their ginseng cream EX.
Paris B says
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Daniel, especially from a long time user like yourself! I am fairly new to the brand, only trying their products in very recent years so I don’t have much of a basis for comparison. But I have to say that it is one of the very very few Korean brands that I actually like using. I don’t usually use Korean brand skincare so perhaps I’m not the best judge either LOL! Oh and their ginseng cream is something else! I love it too and rue the day when my tub finishes 😛
Do you know how this compares to Sulwhasoo essential balancing water? Judging from the pictures and your description, it looks as if the renewing water might be richer.
One of my favorite essences and considerably cheaper is Blithe Vital Treatment 8 Nourishing Bean essence. 🙂
In the summer I’m going to go to Japan and I’m not sure whether to re-purchase SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence. I mean, it is nice, but is it worth the bucks?
Paris B says
Actually yes I can compare! haha I’ve tried samples of the Essential Balancing Water and it’s lighter, more like a watery toner. This one’s thicker in texture and definitely caters to those with drier skin. I haven’t tried the Blithe essence, but because I trust your recommendations, you have me intrigued! I’ll go hunt it down 😀
As for SK-II I find it OK, as you say. It’s nice, but I think it depends on what you want it for, and why you like it. There are so many alternative these days.
LOL I felt your humor too much in this entry! Thanks for enlightening us on this water. I sometimes do think toners are too pricy, especially when the pricy toner/water is to be used with a piece of cotton!
Paris B says
Oh yes, I never suggest that hydrating toners be used with cotton – it’s just a waste of product! But if it’s an exfoliating toner, then yes you do need the cotton or it won’t perform its function as well. These days, there are lots of options in the market – I think we can all find something within our budgets – after all consistency is key to healthy skin! 🙂